( Courtesy California Pear Advisory Board )

After two years of late harvest starts, the California pear crop will be on a normal schedule, with harvest starting in early July.

Bartletts in California’s River District will start the season, Matt Hemly, of Greene and Hemly, Courtland, Calif., said in a news release from the California Pear Advisory Board, Sacramento.

Growers are preparing for the season with an uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and safety of employees is factoring into preparation decisions.

“We employ 450 people in our farms and packinghouse,” Chiles Wilson, owner of Rivermaid Trading Co., Lodi, Calif., said in the release. “We want to make sure we can give them their jobs back this year. It's not just about us as farmers but all the people we employ and their families."

The California Pear Advisory Board is focusing on flavor, particularly on the effects of ethylene blocker 1-MCP, commonly used in storing different fruit to halt the ripening process.

California pear growers ship only new-crop pears. 

“Flavor is most important to consumers,” Pat Scully of Scully Packing ,Finley, Calif., said in the release. “California pear farmers take care to pick pears at a point when they have plenty of sugar, and we never treat our pears with anti-ripening products like 1-MCP.”  

Advisory board representatives will be contacting retailers to set up promotions for the season.

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